Reflection: Creating and Finding Place

Illustration by Richard Farrell. 

One of my favorite pieces of choreography is Franklin Yu’s rendition of “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” by John Mayer. Yes, I said John Mayer and hip-hop dance in the same sentence. That shouldn’t make sense, but neither should the way that Franklin Yu’s movements make me listen to the song differently. 

Musicality, how well movements match sounds, is an important piece of an urban style of dancing. This style, which encompasses hip-hop, jazz, breaking and many others, truly visualizes a song in a manner that can change how someone listens to the music. 

In the Davidson community, my urban dance team, BLU, and I try to break whatever lines separate dance styles in an effort to create something different. When I first came to Davidson, the closest thing to an urban dance space was a hip-hop tech class with about six students in it. 

We would perform in Dance Ensemble, go our separate ways, and maybe come back together the following semester. I wanted a space where I could improve upon my choreographing skills and work with a consistent team. 

I created BLU and it’s been my primary extracurricular since. I spend about eight hours a week both with my team and thinking of choreographies. Dancing is the time I can be creative, and it’s a good break from the time I spend working on physics. 

Plus, no matter how bad of a day I’ve had, my thirteen teammates always manage to make me smile. I still need to improve a lot, but the challenges of seeking to become a better dancer has led me to find great friends and teachers around the world. The urban dance community is probably one of the friendliest out there and I’ve been to famous locations with well-known teachers and they’re more than willing to help you learn after class, which brings me back to Franklin Yu. 

I took his class over spring break and everyone struggled to master his piece. Despite this, he was very down-to-earth and was glad to talk about his piece with me afterwards, which was a pleasant surprise. 

Through Davidson, I learned how to approach professors and create your own space, which are two invaluable assets that have helped me seek dance teachers and build my team here to share and grow my ideas with. There are great dancers on campus, and our school’s collaborative nature has made my dance experience through Dance Ensemble and BLU my favorite part about college. 

But dance is just one part of the art community at Davidson. This past weekend, I saw a friend of mine perform in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and he was amazing, and I was overwhelmed with happiness that he found his place. I believe that arts have the capacity to give people a home, as long as it remains open to all. So, whether you’ve found your thing or don’t know what that is, keep seeking and you’ll never know who will meet or where you’ll end up. 

Ted Yoo ‘20 is a Physics Major from Glenford, NY. He can be reached for comment at teyoo@davidson.edu. 

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